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A plastic manufacturing company is nearly doubling the size of its factory in Manhattan after COVID-19 helped boost business.

Plastic Design and Manufacturing, or PDM, a custom injection molding company, broke ground on a 20,000-square-foot expansion to its building and expects the addition to be completed by October.

The company makes custom injection-molded plastics, ranging from the plastic tops on Werner ladders to dog food bowls and other pet products. The company also has a factory in Juarez, Mexico.

About half of the new building will be used as storage for the company, while the other half of the building will be leased out, said company president Mike Groff.

Freed up space in the existing building will house two new injection molding machines. The expansion will add another eight jobs to the factory, which now employs about 60 people. The factory operates 24 hours, five days a week.

Much of the products are made for U.S. clients outside of Montana, but the company does work for several local companies like Mystery Ranch or Flask Cap.

While many businesses suffered during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, PDM saw a boost to business, Groff said. The company is poised to do $17 million in sales this year.

“We had a record year out of the pandemic and in 2021 we expect to have another record year on increase on top of 2020 by at least 30%,” he said.

In part, a pandemic-induced rise in demand for pet products and some hardware products — which the company manufactures — led to the increase in business.

“Pet supply business went bonkers, everyone stuck at home got pets,” Groff explained. “People were also doing home improvement projects.”

Groff founded PDM in 1998 in Belgrade and opened the Manhattan facility in 2009.

There are two other plastic manufacturing companies in Manhattan — Blackhawk and Norplex.

“It’s the plastic mecca of Montana,” Groff said joked. Groff said he was “born with a plastic spoon” in his mouth. His father owns a plastic company in Ohio.

In April 2020, the company also helped produce plastic face shields during the shortage of personal protective equipment along with other manufacturing companies in the area.

With the new building, Groff hopes the company will continue to grow.

“We want to expand and serve the local economy, and support business and local entrepreneurs,” Groff said.

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Juliana Sukut can be reached at 582-2630 or

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